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The Making Of Colombian Coffee

Colombian coffee is consumed by millions of coffee drinkers all over the world. Some will argue that it is also the world’s best coffee. While that may provoke heated discussion, we are not here to argue that point. The reason for this article is to educate you on how Colombian coffee is delivered to you.

The journey for a coffee bean starts with the planting of the coffee beans in a nursery. Each time there is planting; there are thousands of beans planted. They are all sown close together and covered with rich fertile soil.

It will take eight weeks for the seeds to germinate and for the roots to develop. The coffee plants are than carefully inspected, and the healthiest ones are selected and they are than carefully transplanted in the nursery and carefully nurtured for six months.

When the seedlings have grown to about two feet in height, they are than transplanted to the plantation where the plants are carefully cultivated.

It will take approximately three to four years for the average coffee tree to grow to full size and blossom. The first fruit will appear about six months later. Unlike other fruit trees, coffee trees are unique. They will bear fruit and flowers all at the same time.

Each coffee tree will produce one pound (455 grams) of coffee each year.

Processing

When the coffee beans are a rich, red color, they are ready for harvesting. Than, and only than, are the berries picked individually. After all of the beans are harvested, they are loaded into bags and than loaded onto mules or donkeys.

The beans then go on to the only mechanical means of help for the farmer, the de-pulping machine. This machine will remove the pulp off the two seeds that are in the centre of the each berry. The two beans that are found in the berry are flat on one side and rounded on the other. The pulp, or the red covering that you see, goes back to the soil as fertilizer for new plants and seeds while the beans, still encased in a tough parchment husk, go to large concrete tanks.

In these tanks, the beans will soak in cold mountain water for 24 hours. The soaking will start a slight fermentation process which is of vital importance for the aroma of the coffee.

The coffee beans are than washed in long troughs. Any twigs, debris, or poor quality beans are discarded. Unlike beans from other origins, all Colombian Coffee is “washed” which gives Colombian Coffee its rich taste and aroma.

When the washing is over, the coffee beans must be dried. All of them are scooped up and place into large straw baskets. They are than spread out on fantastic open air terraces, where they are turned, and turned again until the wind and the sun have dried them completely. It is necessary to cover the beans at night to prevent moisture from getting them wet, and of course they must be covered whenever it rains.

Quality Control

Another aspect of Colombian Coffee that makes it so unique is the country’s high quality control standards. It starts in the farm where the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia sends an appointed official to inspect each farm for sanitary conditions, healthy trees and the quality of each harvest. The inspector also confirms that the beans have been washed properly.

The inspector also looks for adequate bean size, color, texture and overall quality. He will start the final test by removing the husk and tough parchment to expose the bean. If you were there to watch, you would see him cut the bean in half with a sharp knife. If there is not too much moisture in the bean, the beans will not glide away. If the bean is too dry, it will split too quickly. But, if the bean has been dried just right, the inspector will authorize the farmer to take his crop to market.

The beans are than placed in burlap bags and loaded onto jeeps. In certain regions, mules and donkeys are still an vital mode of transportation from the farm to the market.

Once at the market, the farmer’s crop is further tested by the operation’s owner. His assistant punctures the coffee bags and removes a random sample of beans and puts them into a tiny machine which removes the beans parchment. The owner will then test the beans for aroma, color, size, moisture, and texture. Only the best crops are sold and distributed for export.

Following that, the beans are now brought to the mill where they are fed into machines which remove the tough parchment husk and silvery skin that surrounds each bean. The beans than must pass through different screening processes, where they are freed from impurities and sorted by size, weight and shape. Young women undertake that last critical inspection and discard the beans that are of inferior quality. Now the rich, olive-green beans are ready to finally be poured into bags and are sealed for export.

It is only after this long process that the Federation will give its stamp of approval. But, before the bags are sealed, yet another sample is taken which is graded and weighed. This sample of coffee is roasted, ground and finally tasted in a properly prepared cup of coffee. The experts will give marks for aroma, acidity and uniformity. If the experts are not satisfied with the quality of a particular lot, export is than refused.

Types of Coffee Beans

A excellent cup of coffee comes down to one thing: Excellent Beans. There are two basic bean types: Robusta and Arabica:

Coffea Arabica commonly called Arabica, are considered the highest quality beans and are therefore usually more expensive. Arabica beans grow best in high altitudes and produce a very flavorful and aromatic coffee, low in caffeine and acidity. In Colombia, Arabica is exclusively grown. Also it is the type of beans used by My Coffee Gourmet.Com.

Coffea Robusta or canephora is commonly called Robusta. As the name tells you, this tree can withstand harsher temperatures and conditions than most. Considered by the trade to be less flavorful and aromatic than Arabica, it is widely used in instant and less expensive coffees. Robusta beans produce a cup with twice the amount of caffeine of Arabica and is high in acidity. No robustas are grown in Colombia

Colombian also known as Washed Arabica. It is the highest quality of Arabica coffee. Unlike beans from other origins, all Colombian coffee is “washed;” this process releases many of the impurities and acid agents, which in turn, gives it its fresh taste and aroma. My Coffee Gourmet.Com uses nothing but Arabica Coffee Beans in its gourmet coffees.

This article may be re-distributed without permission as long as the following resource box is left intact:

About the Author

Chris Weaver is the President of C.C.W. Enterprises of Brantford Ontario Canada. His company also owns My Coffee Gourmet ( mycoffeegourmet.com) which offers its customers gourmet coffee beans, flavored coffee, and Pickwick Tea.

Chris Weaver is the president of C.C.W. Enterprises of Brantford Ontario Canada. His company also owns My Coffee Gourmet ( mycoffeegourmet.com mycoffeegourmet.com) which offers its customers gourmet coffee beans, flavored coffee and Pickwick Tea.

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